On the afternoon of Oct. 1 last year, a bus full of 50 passengers in Chongqing raced through the traffic, overtaking its competitors to pick up as many business as it could. While it was overtaking another bus on a bridge road, according to witnesses, the bus risked into the against traffic and before it could return to its lane, the driver lost control and the bus ran over the rail and crashed in to the valley, killing 30 and injuring the rest.
Between January 2006 and April 2007, Chongqing’s bus accidents killed 130 and injured 172, making traffic casualties one of the most popular headlines in local newspapers.
It’s learned that, drivers of many of the buses there have to put their passengers’ lives, and themselves’, on the line to speed through dicy traffic in order to pick up a few more passengers. Many of these drivers rent their vehicles from mostly private companies but have to work hard to break even, as routes are sometimes so crowded with carriers that there’s a bus going around every minute.
The crashed bus last October, like many other buses, had almost 200 citations for violating traffic rules, but 164 of its tickets were unsettled. The company that leases it, like other companies, usually settles all the tickets with the traffic authorities at the end of the year at a “discount,” say half the total amount of all the bills of 30,000 yuan.
With frequent accidents and fatalities, residents started to be highly concerned about public transit safety and some protested online. [Full Text in Chinese]